The Quaker Tapestry: a 'modern masterpiece' of storytelling

By agency reporter
July 31, 2017

The famous Quaker Tapestry is a modern stitched masterpiece in storytelling. Part of it is being exhibited in Friends House in London. It was last in the capital over 20 years ago.

The exhibition in Friends House (opposite Euston Station) brings alive Quaker history and current work.

The 77 panels that make up the Quaker Tapestry are the work of 4,000 men, women and children from around the world. It began in 1981 in a children's meeting in Taunton, as an alternative to colouring-in and was completed 15 years later. Some of the panels made journeys of thousands of miles as they passed from one group of embroiderers to another.

Twenty panels, from their Lake District home – the Arts Council accredited Quaker Tapestry Museum in Kendal – will form a free exhibition accompanied by demonstrations, an introductory film, a workshop, and gift shop.

“Since the dawn of recorded history, craftspeople have used their skills to tell stories", explained Quaker Tapestry Museum manager Bridget Guest.

“Such a record is the Quaker Tapestry. As with the famous Bayeux Tapestry, it is a hanging with a compelling historical narrative, 350 years of social history from a Quaker perspective.

“These colourful and vibrant tapestry panels will interest people who love embroidery and social history. There are stories about scientists, engineers and ecologists and others. The embroideries also deal with subjects as diverse as prison reform, peace work and anti-slavery initiatives", she added.

The exhibition in Friends House runs from 7 to 18 August, from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 8pm on Thursdays.

Visitors can book online for an embroidery taster workshop on Saturday 12 August from 10am to 1pm.

Previous London venues include the Royal Festival Hall and the House of Commons.

* Visiting the tapestry at Friends House

* Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

*Quakers in Britain http://www.quaker.org.uk/

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